Physicists from Russia figured out how to “comb” solar panels
© AP Photo / Mark Lennihan
© AP Photo / Mark Lennihan
MOSCOW, 5 Jul – RIA Novosti. Physics from MIPT and foreign countries have figured out how to properly "turn" the tails of the molecules in organic solar cells, which will significantly increase their efficiency and allow them to compete with silicon panels. Their findings were presented in the Journal of Materials Chemistry.
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"Organic batteries are not necessarily flat – they can be applied, for example, on the tiled roof. In addition, they may be more technologically advanced than their silicon competitors, as the process of their production has fewer stages"— says Dmitry Ivanov from Moscow physical-technical Institute in Dolgoprudny, whose word brings the press service of the University.
Silicon solar battery and many of their counterparts from other semiconductor materials have a relatively low efficiency – they convert only a small fraction of the energy of the Sun, about 7-15%, in electric current. This, coupled with high costs like electricity generators, is today one of the main problems for their application in household and industry.
Most inorganic light-absorbing materials have a symmetrical crystal structure, which allows electrons to flow freely in different directions. Scientists have been arguing quite a typical such structure for organic solar cells with even lower efficiency, and whether it can be improved.
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Ivanov and his counterparts from Russia, Kazakhstan and France figured out how to increase the efficiency of solar energy converters in 2-3 times, experimenting with light-sensitive polymeric materials, whose fiber was impregnated with fluorine compounds.
Recently, as scholars have noted, their colleagues found that the addition of a certain amount of fluorine atoms in organic solar battery significantly increases the efficiency of their work, but the reasons for this remained unknown. As assumed, then physics, due to the fact that fluoride makes the strands of polymers to form ordered crystal structures, but they did not understand how it happens.
Changing the length "tails" polymer molecules, and also the position of fluorine atoms, Ivanov and his colleagues tried to uncover the reasons for the growth efficiency and to enhance this effect. As it turned out, his strength depended on the length of hydrocarbon "tails" attached to the threads of the polymers than were longer, the stronger the fluorine increased the efficiency of their work.
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Moreover, subsequent experiments showed that the key role in the growth efficiency was not playing fluorine, and changes in the structure of the threads themselves – increase or decrease in the length "tails" much stronger influence on the operation of the entire battery as a whole than where and in what quantities was fluoride.
Guided by these considerations, the authors were able to increase the efficiency of organic solar batteries is almost three times, from 3.7% to 10.2%. They are still inferior to the best versions of silicon solar cells, but such success, as I hope scientists say that organic batteries will soon replace them "Olympus" green electric energy.